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Sunrisers optimistic

Hyderabad: After being outplayed by Mumbai Indians in their previous match, Sunrisers Hyderabad face another tough battle when they take on table-toppers Kings XI Punjab at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, here, on Monday.

The Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) have had a superb campaign in IPL VII before Kolkata Knight Riders got the better of them the other day in Cuttack. Having suffered a sudden setback, KXIP would be keen to come out all guns blazing against the Sunrisers, who cannot afford to lose any more matches in order to stay in contention for a place in the last four.

KXIP’s star duo — Glenn Maxwell and David Miller — have been in scintillating form and the good news for the team is Virender Sehwag’s return to form.

Last Sunday, Sehwag did remind of his batting prowess though KXIP ended on the losing side.

While batting has been the Kings XI’s strength, the bowling department too is strong enough with the presence of pacer Sandeep Sharma, one of the top wicket-takers this season and Australian import Mitchell Johnson, who slowly gathered some momentum after an indifferent start.

Sunrisers, on the other hand, have had a decent track record on home turf though the seven-wicket defeat against Mumbai Indians came as a big setback. The hosts now have to make sure the established names in Aaron Finch, David Warner and captain Shikhar Dhawan come up with a sizeable contribution to take their team to a position of strength.

The bowling, spearheaded by South African tearaway pacer Dale Steyn and the young Bhuvneshwar Kumar, need to complement the batsmen’s efforts, while Moises Henriques and Irfan Pathan too will have to step up in order to keep the Sunrisers alive in the tournament.

The bowlers were at the receiving end of the onslaught by Mumbai Indians’ Ambati Rayudu and Lendl Simmons on Monday, and it’s high time they make amends.